For years, Acampo resident Jamie Reyes and her family have set aside a night here and there to get together and make their own homemade crafts such as decorative wooden wall hangings with inspirational messages.
The special nights, Reyes said, were chances for the her family of seven to spend quality time together, turn off the television and cell phones, and converse while doing something creative.
The idea of several people getting together and using their imagination to make a piece of art was something Reyes thought the Lodi community could enjoy.
Earlier this year, one of her children provided her with an idea to make that thought a reality.
“Our oldest daughter is in the Air Force, stationed in Albuquerque,” Reyes said. “She’d send me pictures of neat little craft things to do, and one day she showed me something about a woman out there providing a craft workshop, and she said that was something we could do.”
After contacting the woman, Reyes soon learned about Hammer & Stain DIY Workshops, a business based out of Florida that provides a do-it-yourself craft space where guests transform unfinished wood into pieces of art and decor for your home.
Reyes ultimately became a franchisee, and opened her Lodi location two weeks ago at Kettleman Station.
Customers at the shop are given an unfinished piece of wood, stencils, paint, brushes and other materials to create wall-worthy hangings emblazoned with their family name, a welcome message for guests to their home, or a simple daily affirmation.
If you’ve done a little bit of crafting at home or you are brand new to the hobby, Reyes will be there with you to help you create the perfect piece of personalized artwork.
“How it typically works is that (customers) will show me something they’ve seen on Pinterest, and I’ll encourage them to use what they’ve found as a guide,” she said. “Then they use the materials here, like the wood, the paint, and they can build their own.”
Classes held at Hammer & Stain typically last about two hours, Reyes said, and she will direct guests in terms of how to paint the perfect brush stroke, how to mix paint colors, or how to apply other amenities like ribbons or handles.
Hammer & Stain is not an establishment where customers walk in off the street and whip something up off the cuff.
The classes are, for the most part, held weekday evenings and on weekends. Customers must call Reyes at least four days in advance, letting her know what they’d like to create and with what shape, size and type of materials so she can either make sure it’s in her storage room or order it.
She also has to make stencils for a guest’s personalized message prior to the beginning of class.
Classes typically cost about $45, which is strictly for the materials needed, not to rent the space to create.
In addition to making wooden wall-hangings, Reyes also offers guests the ability to personalize pillows and doormats, or create ‘scrabble’ tiles that spell out names and phrases.
She also offers guests the chance to decorate ceramic flower pots and “piggy” banks in a variety of shapes such as cowboy boots, rabbits and gnomes, among others.
She remains in contact with other Hammer & Stain owners, and new ideas for creations are always being suggested to add to craft menu, she said.
“We’re always thinking what is the next big thing or trend,” she said. “All of us across the country are brainstorming, talking about what works for us and what doesn’t.”
Reyes also takes suggestions from customers who might see something unique on Pinterest or Instagram. She is considering offering guests the chance to make personalized wall-hanging bottle openers, as well as cornhole frames.
The Lodi shop is the 79th Hammer & Stain to open since it was founded in 2016. It’s also only the second shop in California, with the first opening in Inland Empire.
There are 85 locations across the country, the majority of which are located in eastern states. But there are locations in Sparks, Nev., Meridian, Idaho Phoenix, Seattle and Kirkland, Wash.
Many of the locations host corporate parties, fundraisers, birthday parties and couples’ night classes.
Reyes is hoping to offer kids camps in the summer in an effort to get youngsters away from television and video games for even just a small amount of time.
Right now, the shop offers primarily themed classes because Reyes is still new to the business. But. She envisions that in the future she will have nights where a dozen people are creating a dozen different things.
She said she opened the shop with the hope that Lodians will want to get out and do something fun and different.
“I want people to get out and talk, and not have to drive to Stockton, if there was something like this there,” she said. “There are similar places like this in Elk Grove or Roseville, but that’s such a long drive. Many of us all have day jobs, and driving that far just makes going to something like this nearly impossible.”
Hammer & Stain is located at 400 E. Kettleman Lane, Suite 16, in Lodi. For more information, visit www.hammerandstainoflodi.com.